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Dabord's Autopsy Released

Dele's brother had drugs in his system, but coroner says cause of death 'undetermined.'

January 30, 2003|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

The mystery surrounding Miles Dabord's final hours came no closer to being solved Wednesday when the San Diego County medical examiner's office released his autopsy report.

Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, a deputy medical examiner, ruled that the cause and manner of Dabord's Sept. 27 death at Scripps Hospital in Chula Vista "is best listed as undetermined."

Dabord, the older brother of former NBA player Bison Dele, is considered by the FBI as the leading suspect surrounding the South Pacific disappearances of Dele, his girlfriend, Serena Karlan; and Bertrand Saldo, who captained Dele's $60,000 catamaran, the "Hakuna Matata."

Bison Dele was known as Brian Williams when he played at Santa Monica St. Monica High, the University of Arizona, and during his first years in the NBA.

The medical examiner's toxicology report indicated that Dabord tested positive for cocaine metabolites, opiates, depressants and anti-anxiety medications diazepam and oxazepam. Lucas noted the diazepam level but did not list the drug use an overdose.

"These results would be consistent with the use of morphine and/or heroin," wrote Dr. Iain M. McIntyre, the forensic toxicology laboratory manager.

Additionally, Dabord's right lung was deemed "mildly congested," and there were minor contusions on his head, torso and extremities.

Lucas left his ruling as "undetermined," based on "the lack of information regarding the circumstances surrounding the death as currently known, according to the report." He did not return phone calls to his office Wednesday.

Dele, Karlan and Saldo disappeared in early July. Dabord, who had sailed with them, departed Tahiti less than two weeks after they were last seen. Then, posing as Dele and using his brother's identification, he attempted to purchase $152,000 in gold from a Phoenix gold merchant in September. Phoenix police did not arrest Dabord, but the FBI pursued him upon the development.

Dabord's girlfriend, Erica Wiese of Northern California, told investigators Dabord's version of an argument between he and Dele aboard the boat that culminated with the three being killed and dumped overboard. Wiese drove Dabord to the Mexican border days after the failed gold purchase, then left him. In his final days, Dabord repeatedly threatened suicide in conversations with his mother, Patricia Phillips.

Dabord was found unresponsive in Tijuana. He was transported to Scripps on Sept. 15 but never regained consciousness.

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